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From Value One, Summer 2012 No.37
Manila Branch
Manila, the Town That Never Sleeps

The Philippines' number one attraction is undoubtedly the cheerful, friendly nature of the Filipino people. Daily life is imbued with qualities that Japanese have lost—an emphasis on big families, communities in which people help each other out, and heartfelt human interaction. In addition, perhaps due to around 350 years of Spanish rule and four decades under the United States, there is also an appealing mix of European, American, and Asian lifestyles and cultures. Another characteristic is that Catholics account for around 80 percent of the population.
Manila, where I work, is a shopping paradise. There are more than two hundred shopping malls in the metropolitan area, called Metro Manila, selling products at comparatively reasonable prices. Famous U.S. and European brands have moved into the market, as have Muji and Uniqlo from Japan. Seven Eleven's shops now number more than seven hundred, and Ministop, in which Mitsubishi Corporation is an investor, has over three hundred outlets.
Near the airport is the SM Mall of Asia—a shopping mall that boasts the world's third-largest amount of floor space—and Resorts World Manila, a casino complex with three adjoining hotels, both part of a city that never sleeps.

Golf and Diving Popular among Japanese
Boxing and basketball are popular in the Philippines, but the sports that are most popular among Japanese are golf and scuba diving. Consisting of 7,107 islands, the Philippines possess numerous beautiful diving spots, and you can obtain a PADI diving license (open water, up to a depth of 18 meters) after two days of instruction. Having fun around lovely coral reefs and colorful fish, you can forget the clock for a while. You can enjoy snorkeling even without getting a license, and if your luck is good you might be able to swim with whale sharks, manta rays, and sea turtles.
Convenient Transportation Facilities for Regular Folks

Clothing is also distinctive in the Philippines, where it is hot year-round. Formal wear garments known as barong Tagalog have no pockets and are tailored with thin fabric that you can see through. This type of clothing originated during the era of Spanish rule and was reportedly designed to prevent commoners from carrying weapons.
Incidentally, something that has amazed me during my time in Manila is that, perhaps due to the heat, nobody here walks. Most people immediately climb into a jeepney or other public vehicle to get around when they step outside, leading non-perambulatory lives totally unlike those in Japan. Jeepneys originated as jeeps that the U.S. Army sold off after the World War II and were remodeled into buses. Many are 16-passenger vehicles, but some of the larger ones can accommodate 30 riders. Around 100,000 jeepneys are in use throughout the Philippines, and it costs just eight pesos (around ¥16) for the first two kilometers to ride short-distance jeepneys downtown. You can get on a jeepney anyplace just by raising your hand, and get off wherever you want, which is very convenient.
Per capita GDP in the Philippines now reportedly exceeds 2,300 U.S. dollars. It is said that a country's motorization proceeds at an accelerated pace once GDP exceeds $2,500–$3,000, but some believe that the existence of imported used cars and convenient jeepneys is hampering that.

Handy wheels for regular folks—the jeepney



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